Red Lobster, Wicker Park’s Mirai Sushi, and Lincoln Park punk bar Delilah’s are three seemingly disparate venues. However, they have something in common—all three have hired graduates of American Professional Bartending Schools of Illinois to mix their drinks and man their bars. The schools have been landing graduates at notable Chicago establishments for more than 60 years, but their connection with alums doesn’t end with their first gig. Graduates receive lifetime, personalized job-placement assistance and can call the school’s career hotline 24 hours a day to find out about job openings or trade meatloaf recipes.
The schools' focus on employment also shows in their bartending classes, which are modeled after on-the-job training and led by teachers with an average of more than 20 years of industry experience. Taught at bars complete with realistic faux liquor, the sessions cover topics from mixology to presentation and etiquette.
Though you may see humanoid, purple dinosaurs and mouses wearing tuxedos roam amid the slides and obstacle courses at Jump N’ Jam Playland, it's no reason to call the doctor. In fact, it's a completely regular occurrence. Inside this inflatable playground––filled with bounce castles, jungle gyms, and basketball courts––characters from a variety of children’s shows appear to mingle with kiddies during Party! Party! Party! birthday celebrations. At open-play sessions, groups of kids to bounce and climb alongside friends for hours.
Castaways Bowl caters to its clients with 32 lanes, a full-service eatery, billiards, and other games while retaining the same family-run charm it’s had since 1950. They host competitive bowling tournaments as well as bowling programs that teach the game to children as young as 2, before they can develop the ability to feel empathy for maltreated pins. To fuel further pin-pummeling exploits, Windy City Pizza—an on-site eatery—cooks up a hefty menu of chicken, pasta, and pizza for famished bowlers.
Trained in Thailand—the birthplace of muay thai—and boasting more than 20 years of experience, Komel Kickboxing’s head trainer helps his students progress through the ranks in daily classes. The schedule includes no-contact classes, separate classes for children, as well as classes for intermediate and advanced kickboxers of all ages.